Saturday, 16 July 2016

My Guest today....

I am delighted to welcome back Lynda Stacey as a guest on my blog today.  Lynda recently won ChocLit and Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star Competition.  Her debut novel, The House of Secrets will be released shortly.

Lynda took some time out of her busy schedule to come and talk to me.

1    Welcome Lynda,  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi Victoria and thank you so much for having me.
I work full time as a Sales Director. I have a lovely husband, two step-daughters and two grandchildren. I love to travel. I used to be a Scuba Diving Instructor and enjoy finding interesting dive sites. Other than that, I’m quite boring and ordinary, I do the ironing, the cleaning and when I have nothing else to do, I sit my lap top on my knee and I write.

How long have you been writing and working toward the goal of being published?

I began writing at a very early age, but like most things that you do when you are young, it gets put to one side. I do distinctly remember being around 14 years old when I asked for a Lilliput typewriter for Christmas, announcing to my family that I really needed one, or I’d never be able write a novel.

Can you describe the time you realised you were a ‘real writer?’

Wow, I still don’t class myself as a writer. It all seems so surreal that something that I wrote is actually out there for people to buy. It’s crazy and a little incomprehensible. I think what makes it worse is that everything is e-book first these days, I guess if I actually got to see and hold a book, with my name on it, I’d feel like a ‘real writer.’

What was the inspiration behind The House of Secrets?

The story was inspired by Wrea Head Hall. I went with my husband one Christmas for a birthday treat. (My birthday is the 29th December) The minute I pulled up on the extensive driveway, I was in awe of the house. It literally took my breath away and when we walked in through the front door, stepped into the Grand Hall and walked through the corridors, I could feel the history seeping out through the walls at me. It was as though the house was trying to tell me it’s story.

Wrea Head Hall

How did you come up with your story concept?

The family that used to live there had quite a history of its own, which I studied. After much deliberation, I decided to step away from the real story and create a fictional family. It suited my story better and to me, Emily Ennis came to life.

Who is your favourite character and why?

I love Nomsa. She’s a typical Caribbean lady. I’ve travelled around the Caribbean extensively with my diving and spent a lot of time in both Jamaica, Barbados, the Dominican and Grenada. I absolutely love the people, especially the Jamaicans. I love how they have happy-go-lucky attitudes one minute and how they stand up for themselves the next.

Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them, or are you happy their story is told and you can move on to the next project?

Ha ha…. That depends what you mean by ‘attached’? To me, they are real. They live at the hall, they work there and sleep there. I would fully expect to go to Bandit’s cottage, knock on the door and have him answer it.

If you could be any of your characters, which would it be and why?

That’s a hard question. No, I don’t think I would. I actually really like the life that I have, I don’t dream of being anyone else.

What is your writing process? Which comes first, the story, the characters, or setting?

Definitely the character. Normally just the heroine first. I try to build her world and then introduce others around her.

Are you a meticulous plotter or do you just let it flow?

It just flows. Some days it flows in a good way, and others in a way that means that I end up deleting a lot of words at a later date.

How would you describe your writing style?


How long does it take you to write a book?

Because I work full time, I get very little actual writing time. So, I’d say it takes me around a year to the end of a draft worth submitting and then another year for the edits and the publishing.

What kind of research do you undertake?

As much as I physically can. For House of Secrets, I had to go to Wrea Head Hall a lot, it was hard work, but I loved it hahaha…!!

What part of writing a novel do you find most challenging?

The same part that challenges all authors. It’s the 40,000-word syndrome, the part where you look at your manuscript and all you can think is… IT’S RUBBISH, WHO WOULD BUY THIS? And then of course, you pass it by a few beta readers, who do their best to lift your spirits and you carry on.

Have you used beta readers, and if so, do you recommend them?

Yes, I use beta readers. They are invaluable. But no, I don’t recommend them, they’re mine, all mine.

What can your readers expect when they read your book?

I’d like to think that they wouldn’t know what to expect. After all, sometimes the book and the characters do their own thing and even I have no idea what they are doing, until it’s done.

Can you tell us what you are writing now?

I’ve just finished writing my 3rd novel and I’m about to start my 4th. I’m at that research stage and building my heroine stage. The only thing I really know about the next book at this point is that it will be a time slip, within the mining community.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep going. Whatever you do, believe in yourself and keep writing. Join as many writing groups as you can, this helps you to keep the momentum going. Other than that, network, meet other authors, lots of them. They are all full of the most amazing advice.

I understand you are a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association. Do you think being a member of such an association is beneficial to new writers?

The Romantic Novelist Association has been a huge help to me. I joined under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme, which offers a full critique on your work, once a year. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t joined, I probably still wouldn’t be published.

Do you ever experience writers’ block? If so, how do you get past it?

I wouldn’t say that I ever experience it, I’d say that after working all day and by the time I’ve made tea, cleaned my house and sat down to write, my mind is tired. Some nights I have the energy, others I don’t and I find that my best idea’s normally come to me at really inopportune moments. So, I always carry a notebook.

Thank you Lynda.  

The House of Secrets, published by Choc Lit will be released on the 19th July.

A woman on the run, a broken man and a house with a shocking secret …

Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy.

Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past.

After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.

But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts …

The House of Secrets is available as an ebook from Amazon, Kobo, Nook and iBookstore 

For more information about Lynda, visit her website:
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